Flanders was born in Minneapolis, MN, the son of Bernice (née Brown) and Francis Michael Grey Flanders. Flanders began his acting career on Broadway before moving on to guest parts in television series. From 1967 through 1975, Flanders appeared in more than a dozen American TV shows, including six appearances on the CBS-TV series Hawaii Five-O (as six different characters). During this time, he was also prolific in TV movies. He also married actress Ellen Geer during this time; they later divorced.
In the late 1970s, Flanders moved away from small TV roles to take major credits in both TV and feature films, while continuing his stage career. In 1974, Flanders won a Tony Award for Best Supporting or Featured Actor in a Dramatic Presentation for A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O'Neill on Broadway, He also won an Emmy award in 1976 for the TV movie adaptation of A Moon for the Misbegotten.
St. Elsewhere Edit
In 1982, he began his role in St. Elsewhere which was to earn him four Emmy Award nominations as Outstanding Lead Actor in a TV Series, winning the award in 1983. After a stormy departure from the series in 1987, he returned for two more episodes including the 1988 series finale. During a scene in which Westphall addressed the staff, Flanders began speaking extemporaneously about the quality of art and had to be edited for broadcast. His exit on St. Elsewhere as a regular cast member was titled Moon for the Misbegotten after the play that won him a Tony Award. The episode gained much publicity as Westphall left the hospital after "mooning" his new boss, Dr. Gideon (played by Ronny Cox). Flanders continued his working relationship with executive producer Bruce Paltrow. In the short-lived 1994 CBS series, The Road Home.
Other notable roles Edit
In addition to his six-year role as Dr. Donald Westphall, Flanders is noted as the actor who has played President Harry Truman more times, and in more separate productions, than any other. He portrayed the former U.S. President in Truman at Potsdam, Harry S Truman: Plain Speaking, and MacArthur. In the last, Flanders, once again portraying Harry Truman, had second billing to Gregory Peck's lead as General Douglas MacArthur. Flanders is one of a very short list of actors, including Jason Robards and Anthony Hopkins, who have portrayed two different Presidents.
In feature films, Flanders performed major roles in two dark movies based on novels by William Peter Blatty. In the first, The Ninth Configuration (1980), he plays Col. Richard Fell, a self-effacing medic at a secret U.S. army psychiatric facility who assists Marine psychiatrist Col. Vincent Kane (Stacy Keach).
Flanders also played nationally known journalist William Allen White in the 1977 made for TV movie Mary White. This movie was based on the famous eulogy White wrote about his daughter after her death in 1922 from being hit in the head while riding her horse. He also appeared in the 1979 made-for-TV-horror-mini-series Salem's Lot as Dr. Bill Norton. He also played news anchor John Woodley in the 1983 made-for-TV suspense drama Special Bulletin, about a group of environmentalists who threaten to detonate a nuclear weapon in Charleston, South Carolina.
Later life and death Edit
Flanders continued working in telemovies in the early 1990s, but was suffering from depression, particularly after his 1992 divorce from his second wife, health issues with back pain from a road accident and financial problems with his ranch in northern California.
He tragically took his own life by a self-inflicted gunshot wound on February 22, 1995 in Denny, California.
- ↑ Ed Flanders Biography (1934-1995)
- ↑ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present, Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-345-45542-8 1427 pages, 2003.